LAS VEGAS — As it turns out, SIU's men's basketball team is a bunch of night people.
More than 30 hours after losing to UMass by 22 points, the Salukis rallied from three down at the half to topple Tulsa 79-69 and finish the Continental Tire Holiday Invitational 3-1. Marcus Bartley's 3-pointer with 10:37 to play started a 15-0 run that turned a five-point deficit into a 10-point lead the Golden Hurricane couldn't recover from.
Eric McGill scored a team-high 14 points off the bench after delivering 18 in 18 minutes Thursday night against UMass. Aaron Cook had 13 points, 10 in the final 10 minutes of the game, and Sean Lloyd had 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and a block before fouling out. Armon Fletcher scored nine points, grabbed five rebounds and added four assists and two steals for SIU (3-3).
Forward Martins Igbanu led Tulsa (4-2) with 15 points and five boards. Guard Curran Scott was the only other starter in double figures for the Hurricane, who lost their second straight game in Vegas after starting off 4-0. Tulsa's other three starting guards shot a combined 5 of 17 from the field and scored a combined 15 points.
Tulsa's reserves scored 28 points, but the Salukis' bench produced 33 points, led by McGill. Every Saluki that got into the game, which started at 9:30 p.m. local time, scored.
"There were two things that we talked about before the game, to be frank. The first one was we're going to find out who we are right now," SIU coach Barry Hinson said. "We felt like, in all honesty, that our backs were up against the wall. Not in a sense of anything other than our backs were up against the wall to see what kind of character we really have. I can tell you our goal is to win a conference championship, but in our non-conference, how we respond, how we learn from this adversity is going to propel us. The other thing was we challenged the bench to create as much energy as possible, and I thought they did that. I thought we were 2 for 2."
Lloyd scored five straight points during SIU's pivotal run that stretched its lead to double digits. Marcus Bartley's 3-pointer from about 24 feet out, right in front of the Saluki bench, put his team up 61-51. Tulsa never got within four the rest of the way.
SIU is next at Colorado State (4-2) Tuesday night in the Missouri Valley-Mountain West Conference Challenge.
Nevada beat UMass 110-87 to win the four-team event at the Orleans Arena. Former Saluki forward Jordan Caroline, Tre'Shawn Thurman and Caleb Martin made the All-Tournament Team. Martin, a preseason All-American, was named the MVP. Nevada beat Tulsa 96-86 Thursday.